Thursday, 12 April 2018

Friday



Be prepared for an awkward post. I wish I knew what my point was in writing this. For some unfathomable reason the posts I have backed up and the ones rolling around in my head just don't feel right for this week. So I'm going to go back.

Way back.

When I first started writing seriously years ago, before starting this blog or buckling down into creating stories, things were much different than they are now. This would be around 2010. Retrowave had just gotten off the ground, Superversive and the Pulp Revolution were still far off realities, certain customer movements had still not been prodded to life, the internet hot not yet become a competitor for television, and the pendulum was still swinging in one direction. Eight years is a long time, and yet so much has changed. Remember that this is the same decade we are currently in.

I first started writing because I wanted to read stories nobody was creating anymore. Heroism and villainy had been muddied up, stories of wonder were sneered at, and the types of tales that inspired me as a boy to dream had been canned for bland and safe subversion meant to dumb down tastes. Writing was always an activity I liked to do in my spare time, but I'd never taken it seriously because I didn't think I would have a way of sharing what I wrote. Remember, the indie and small pub explosion hadn't happened yet back then. My impression of a writer was the one every bad teacher foisted upon me: the tweed jacket wearing nihilist who spat on tales of wonder for the dead end of realism. It was all about "realistic" stories of pessimistic urbanites crying into their pillows about sexual dysfunction and their worthless lives. Real literature! There was no room for fun, and traditional publishing made it extra clear with the morally sick and tremendously dull door-stoppers they were putting out. So this is the climate I started writing in when I was a youngster tucking papers into binders.

But this isn't about just me. Thankfully. I'm going back further here, so bear with me.

When I was a child, I was by far the least creative among my friends. We lived to play, talk about, and absorb ourselves in adventure tales: stories off far off (and close!) places of wonder where monster and men brought terror across the land and it was up to the heroes to save it. No setting was off limit, and no one cared if there was a difference between a lightsaber or a dragon. It was all the same. I even remember one game where MacDuff and Lennox from MacBeth were involved in stopping a kidnapping that spiraled into taking down a conspiracy to overthrow the king. I didn't say we were normal kids. We were all like this. But despite all that, writing was just something I did for fun. After all, I could still walk into a comic shop or rental store to get a story I wanted and I still (somehow) had in my head that real writers didn't write that fun stuff anyway.

Things change. Rental stores came and went, comics are on the way out, no one goes to the cinema anymore, and TV cables are being cut more and more by the day. Those I grew up with didn't seem to notice. Of all of them, I'm the only one who writes or talks about this subject now even though most of us did at one point. I don't hold a grudge or say this to hold my head high, I merely point it out because things change and so do priorities and people. I started writing more because I noticed the change, and wasn't happy with it. Who would be? I know I wasn't alone in that assessment, but finding anyone who wanted to do anything about it was a fruitless endeavor. So I just started writing my silly stories and scrambled to get better.

And then something happened recently that had me rethinking everything.

On Good Friday I lost someone very important to me who really liked my little fun tales. Pray for her, please. She always pestered me for the next story no matter how much I told her it was coming. I've since been rethinking why I'm writing at all. Am I still the same boy who wants adventure, or am I a man who wants to spread that sense of wonder to others? Am I writing just to prove a point? No, that isn't it. If I wanted to prove a point I would invest in writing essays. Then I could focus on a thesis more clearly than in these posts. Writing is about connecting. I connected with her and made her day a little brighter with the story of a kid who can transform into a magical knight. Did that make it all worth it? I think it did, if even slightly.

I'm not writing into a void. There is a whole world of people hungry for wonder and adventure again. It's no longer about teenage me writing into binders and wondering if any of this is even worth it. If I stopped today, there would be many others taking up the pen regardless. Things have changed.

So now that happenings on the cultural level are improving again does this mean I can just hang it up and go back to the way things were? After all, people are very much creating stories I like again. Those that destroyed all I enjoyed as a child are now suffering heavy losses in the market and from customers who are sick of their games. Every day there's a story of someone else deciding to take matters into their own hands. Nothing is saying that I have to keep going. Surely I don't have to write the stories I want to read anymore.

But I do.

You see, the secret with writers is that they can't stop. Once you put in the time to finally get off the ground and people unrelated to you tell you you're doing okay and getting better it is already too late to pump the brakes. It's too tough to stop. I will write one thing and two more unrelated ideas will sprout up. They don't stop. I also get excited reading old authors and new works and planning how I might be able to tackle certain ideas myself. Writing is a spiderweb for flies like me. One you're in you don't get out again.

The fact of the matter is that there's still work to be done: work that probably won't ever be finished. I'm writing and editing at least three different novels and five different short stories, and awaiting on news of other projects to see where to proceed with those. I'm not at a loss of things to do. The train keeps rolling.

It is like Friday every day. I'm sure you understand my meaning. Friday is the best day of the week, just before the weekend, when anticipation of what is to come hits fever pitch and the possibilities are endless. Everything you worked toward is just ahead and waiting for you. This is the general mood. It's a great time to be doing what I'm doing.

I doubt the younger version of me could imagine quite what's going on right now. This is a whole different world now, and it's still changing.

But some things never change. Adventure and wonder still retain their timeless draw. That is a truth that will always remain the same no matter how much certain types wish to exterminate it.

Does it mean things are perfect? Not even close. There's much to work on, much to polish, much to learn, and much to do. But it's not all in vain. Eventually the weekend will be here and we can go home.

I look forward to it.



Reminder that if you join my mailing list you'll get a short story for free. This tale of a super-powered vigilante fighting dark magic can be acquired there or on amazon for a dollar. Please check it out. It was a lot of fun to write, and I hope you enjoy it just as much.

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